For all the bad press, and some really terrible games, I still believe 2013 was a good year for Xbox Live Indie Games. Hell, I think 2014 will be an even better year, once it’s all said and done. That may be a little overboard optimism on my part, but stopping to consider the quality of some of the recent releases has made me revise my outlook. Narrowing this year’s batch of games down to five top-tier XBLIGs wasn’t easy. That’s why I allowed anyone to include their Write-Ins, resulting in a vote apeice for several games (probably by the developers themselves, you sly dogs), and one vote for Uproar!, which is just, seriously, not funny.
So, without further pomp, and after an exhaustive counting of all the votes on-site (92, to be exact— not very exhausting), here are the Top Five XBLIGs of 2013, as voted by You.
5. Magicians & Looters (8 Votes)
It’s hard to imagine a Metroidvania on XBLIG currently that can hold a candle to Magicians & Looters. Excellent design and near-flawless balancing / pacing combine to compliment a humorous story. Castlevania it is not, sure, but Morgopolis Studios has crafted a solid indie alternative.
4. Arcadecraft (11 Votes)
You will likely never own an arcade. It’s sad, but the very next best thing to that would be playing Arcadecraft. You don’t get to play the actual games, but you do get to manage what’s in your arcade and how it’ll all pan out. Look at it this way, you get all the retro bleeps and bloops, with none of the snotty kids and inevitable bankruptcy.
3. Blood & Bacon (13 Votes)
Sometimes, you just want to shoot things and watch them explode into hundreds of tiny, bloody pieces. For the sheer joy of firing guns and watching the world turn red around you, you have Blood & Bacon. Featuring online co-op, 100 waves of enemies, epic boss fights, and a tough (but fair) challenge, it just simply satisfies.
2. Astralis (18 Votes)
As an open-world, third-person shooter on XBLIG, Astralis could win its respective genre by default. It’s just not something you typically see on XBLIG. Not content to rest on existence alone, the game carries one of the best camera and control systems around, letting you explore and cleanse its unique alien environments with ease.
And the winner is…
1. One Finger Death Punch (37 Votes)
Winning by a comfortable margin, it shouldn’t be much of a surprise to anyone that’s played it that Silver Dollar Games‘ One Finger Death Punch wins ‘theXLBIG of 2013’ honors. Using simple controls and an even simpler objective (beat the hell out of every stick ninja that comes your way), OFDP handily checks off the most important gameplay boxes; easy to learn, difficult to master, and ridiculously fun. If you don’t own this game yet, you are missing out on one of the best on Xbox 360, period.